Campaigning to allow undocumented immigrants whose home has been in the United States for 10 years to be granted permanent residence after inspection.
Since Clinton signed the IIRIRA, immigrants who enter with nonimmigrant
visas such as visitor visas may obtain lawful resident status if a family member or
employer petitions for them even if they illegally overstay their visas and
remained in the US for months or years. Data makes perfectly clear that very
few Mexicans, Central Americans, or South Americans, are granted
non-immigrant visas and therefore historically entered the country without
inspection. There are several million long-term residents, Mexicans, Central
Americans, South Americans, and immigrants permanently residing in the U.S.
in undocumented status even though visas that have been filed by their families
or employers have been approved. Under President Clinton's 1996 law, these
immigrants with approved visa petitions cannot get permanent resident status
solely because their long-ago entry was without inspection.
For the first time, the 1996 law required that these immigrants return to their home countries for ten years before they could be given permanent resident status. The vast majority of these immigrants could not return home for ten years because their family ties are much more important… They are unwilling to break up their families in order to get a green card. These immigrants could promptly be granted permanent resident status by the Biden administration extending to them “advanced parole” this can be accomplished administratively, with no need for any congressional involvement or federal legislation.
What is Advance Parole?
Advance parole is an administrative permission for an immigrant to depart the country for any lawful purpose briefly and to return with an inspection. Once an immigrant returns with inspection, they are treated like those who entered with nonimmigrant visas and can obtain lawful resident status in the United States and are not required to return to their home country for ten years. Currently, the administration gives “advance parole” to 1,000s of immigrants without permanent residence if they have family emergencies or are attending educational or business events abroad or for medical reasons
President Biden has the authority to expand upon the reasons why immigrants with petitions pending may travel abroad or outside the U.S. and may return with an inspection. Such permission could be granted for any proposed “lawful” travel. This could include, for example, travel to visit family. This modification of policy would allow millions of immigrants to petition to regularize their status immediately after returning with an inspection.
The reasons for this suggested policy are obvious. One or two million undocumented immigrants could be legalized. Substantially increasing their payment of taxes, reducing opportunities for their illegal exploitation, increasing their participation in their communities, increasing cooperation with law enforcement, and more likely to visit hospitals when experiencing illnesses, etc. At the same time, the policy would reduce the number of encounters by US customs and US Border Patrol agents already overwhelmed by the number of migrants seeking to enter without inspection.
President Clinton should be asked to forward a letter to president Biden acknowledging that the 1996 IIRIRA has had the major unintended consequence of substantially increasing the size of the undocumented population because at the time it was believed the law would discourage entries without inspection and more importantly force immigrants with approved visa petitions to return home for ten years. However, family ties trumped the intention of the law in reality. Experience now shows that the vast majority of immigrants with approved visa potions are not willing to break their families so that ten years later they could get a green card. Such an acknowledgment from president Clinton may encourage the Biden administration to remedy these unintended consequences simply by modifying the “advance role.”